Saturday, December 28, 2013

Week 43 Sipi/Kampala

Our young single adults spent their family home evening visiting elderly single sisters in the branches taking fruit baskets and caroling to them.  One of the best family home evenings they have had.

I was in downtown Gulu recently and was handed a flyer.  (I finally asked…Gulu population is 156,000).  The flyer is advertising the services of a Dr whose name will remain anonymous.  I’m quoting from the flyer a list of services rendered:

Commercial/Business Troubles…Property cleaning and protection, Get promoted at work, Get new job/restore old job,  Stolen/Missing Property (72 hours)

Social and Love Troubles…Bring back lost lovers (24-48 hours), Bad luck-men and women, Get your ex-lover back.

Physical Problems – Sexual weakness (men and women), Womb troubles, All stomach problems.

Genital herpes, STD’s, Body blood cleansing, All skin problems, Epilepsy, Low sperm count, Insanity, Hips and breasts firming and enlarging.

Spiritual Problems…  Victims of witchcraft, Removing bad spells from your body/property.

Libido Enhancer (Men and Women)

Now, this guy is good!  I don’t care what you say.  I don’t know of a doctor in Dallas that can do all this.    I’ve got his telephone contact information if any of my friends are interested in reaching him…for ANY reason.  I will hold this completely confidential.   What happens in Gulu stays in Gulu!


My Birmingham family and friends are not going to believe this.  Pam spotted this fellow the other day with Mountain Brook T-shirt on...look carefully. To non-family and friends, this is the suburb of Birmingham I grew up in.
 Print screened on the back of the shirt? A picture of the Old Mill
This is frequently the challenge in buying gasoline.  Here are 9-10 bodas lined up to buy gas from one pump.  I'm waiting to get a refill replacement of our propane tank we use for our stove/oven.

Hands behind back...wiggling the head just enough to have a cookie drop down into one's mouth.   A couple of the guys succeeded at it.

Shake your bootie.  3 ping pong balls in a Kleenex box with a hole cut in it...tied to the waste and the kids shake their booties till all 3 balls fall out onto the ground.
Matoke (green banana) tree just out of my reach near our front porch.  It is on our neighbor's property.  Maybe by this time next year, the branch will have grown enough to be protruding over the wall onto my side.
 Even the guys can balance items for sale on their heads.
I thought this was a hoot.  It's about the bodas in Kampala...the main source of transportation in to one's feet.  You might as well try to take the car off the American highway as get the bodas out of Kampala.  Wait a minute...isn't removing cars from the planet exactly what Al Gore wants to do?  If he succeeds, remember, it all started right here in Uganda.
We spent a day or so in saw the dance pictures last week.  More of those scenes here and Sipi Falls again...some new pics.

 Traditional cultural dance program at Ndere Center, Kampala...this was our welcoming committee

playing pipe horn while dancing.
Balancing nearly 10 vases stacked on their heads while dancing and moving about.  Was truly an amazing feat.

 Our dinner at Ndere...grilled pork and chicken.
Our place of lodging at Sipi Falls.  $16/night versus $107 in the round huts 1/4 mile up the road at the falls. It's called the Crow's Nest if you are interested in going.  Each hut had it's own running hot water and bathroom.  A round hut with a public shower or a square cabin with private shower and decide.
 The entrance way to Crow's Nest...lobby
 View of one of the falls from our cabin's front porch.
 Closer view of same water fall.  100 meters....the largest in Africa.
 A berry from a plant that is used for glue.
 Here is the glue between Pam's fingers.
Can't remember what all the plants were that we saw and had explained to us by our guide, George.  I remember this one.  It is natural toilet paper.  Tear off two leaves...two ply.  Get's the job done.  I can't speak from first hand experience but George knows his stuff.
 We hiked behind the fall.  So loud.  So beautiful.
 One of my favorite shots...water crashing down on some large boulders.
 Had to cross this foot bridge on the hike to behind the falls.  5 people allowed at a time.

Our cabin with Queen size bed.  Sat out on the porch at night.  No bugs.  No mosquitoes.  Even with an outside front porch light on.  A chilly night up in the mountains.


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught that Jesus Christ’s mortal wounds are tokens of His sacrifice:
“However dim our days may seem, they have been a lot darker for the Savior of the world. As a reminder of those days, Jesus has chosen, even in a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and in His side—signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect; signs, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn’t love you; signs, if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours. Remind others that it is the wounded Christ who is the Captain of our souls, He who yet bears the scars of our forgiveness, the lesions of His love and humility, the torn flesh of obedience and sacrifice.
Elder Francisco J. ViƱas of the Seventy described some of the characteristics of someone meek and lowly in heart: “The person who obtains meekness and lowliness of heart and who enjoys the company of the Holy Ghost will have no desire to offend or hurt others, nor will he feel affected by any offenses received from others. He will treat his spouse and children with love and respect and will have good relationships with everyone he associates with. In occupying positions of leadership in the Church, he will apply the same principles as he does in the home, showing that there is no difference between the person he is when within the walls of his own home and the person he is in his relationship with the members of the Church” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2004, 40; or Ensign, May 2004, 39–40).

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Chirstmas from Gulu

A special Merry Christmas to each of you.  We had a wonderful Christmas Eve - Eve activity with 17 of our young single adults who assisted us in delivering fruit, Bibles Scripture Story Readers (Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon), pictures of the Savior, homemade dolls, frogs and bears, beanbag toss games, building blocks, corsage flower pins and candy/coloring books/colored pencils to approx. 170 patients at Lacor Hospital..   We were able to cover all the patients in the surgery and burn wards as well as the children's ward (128).   The majority of the patients are children with problems like severe burns (frequently toddlers fall into cooking fires or scalding water), malaria,  malnutrition and cancer. Some pictures are below.

Christmas eve we hosted 16 missionaries from here in Gulu and Lira (2 hrs down the road).  We had a few Christmas gifts for them and a traditional American dinner with all the fixings.  Chicken, beef, turkey....scratch the turkey... Store bought this time but quite gross.  Next time, we'll go back to buying live and preparing with the help of our missionaries.  Hmmm, we likely won't be here then.

Once each month, the senior couples rotate sending a letter to all the elders and sisters serving missions in and from the Uganda Kampala Mission.  We were assigned the month of December.  It follows below and is our Christmas message to you, along with a clever poem written by one of of our senior missionaries, the Hansens.

Dear Elders and Sisters,

What a privilege we have to write to you on behalf of the mission during this most special of all months - December - when we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child - our whole purpose for being
on this mission. What a special time of year when the Spirit fills the hearts of believers and many non-believers alike around the world as Christmas day approaches. Would that every person had that special Spirit of Christmas -  of charity, selflessness and kindness - every day throughout the year.

When we were younger – likely you also – it seemed that Christmas day would never arrive. As we have thought about how quickly our full-time mission is passing by, we have reflected on why this is so. As
a child, Christmas was all about “me”… not about others.  As children we often sat idly by,  merely waiting for Christmas morning so we could see what Santa Claus had brought us. No wonder time seemed to stand still…we were focused so much on ourselves.

Now, in contrast to our childhood, time seems to fly by on our missions. We arrive and then, almost as suddenly, realize our mission is halfway over and we will shortly be on our way home. We hear this story told over and over again by the elders and sisters we serve with in this mission. Why is this so?
Because we are no longer focused on ourselves but we are focused on sharing the message of Christmas,
the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Plan of Happiness with everyone we meet. We pray and fast for and worry about our investigators, new converts and the less active in our wards and branches. We labor tirelessly to bring His joy into their lives. Because we are not focused on ourselves but on serving others, our missions pass by so very quickly. And that will be the key to happiness in our lives long after we have left your mission.

President Spencer W. Kimball once commented on the words of the Savior found in Matthew 10:39 (”… he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it ….”) “…The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our soul … indeed, it is easier to find ourselves because there is more of us to find.” (“There Is Purpose in Life,” June Conference Address 1974, New Era, Sept.1974, p. 4.)

Our souls and spirits are enlarged because we are doing what the Savior did during his mortal ministry and in doing so we grow in ways not previously imaginable. Hence, we are more spiritually mature; we have become more like Him just as He has invited us to do.

Sometimes – perhaps most of the time – the work we are called to perform is very difficult. It may seem more challenging than we feel we have the strength to endure. It has always been so with those engaged in this, the greatest of all works. It will always be so. Consider the words of Christ to Nephi as found in Helaman 10: 3-5:
“ And it came to pass as he [Nephi] was thus pondering—being much cast down because of the wickedness of the people of the Nephites, their secret works of darkness, and their murderings, and their plunderings, and all manner of iniquities—and it came to pass as he was thus pondering in his heart, behold, a voice came unto him saying: 
"Blessed art thou, Nephi, for those things which thou hast done; for I have beheld how thou hast with unwearyingness declared the word, which I have given unto thee, unto this people. And thou hast not feared them, and hast not sought thine own life, but hast sought my will, and to keep my commandments.  
"And now, because thou hast done this with such unwearyingness, behold, I will bless thee forever; and I will make thee mighty in word and in deed, in faith and in works; yea, even that all things shall be done unto thee according to thy word, for thou shalt not ask that which is contrary to my will.”
Our duty is to forget ourselves and then, find ourselves by losing ourselves in the service of others and to continue to endure our trials. May we always remember the inspiring words from that magnificent prophet of this, the greatest and last dispensation:

“Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad.” (D&C 128:22. An epistle from the prophet Joseph Smith to the Church)
May we each feel the Spirit of our Savior this special season of the year and may we always have his Spirit to be with us.

Love,  Elder and Sister Moore

 Our little Christmas Tree...was in storage here when we arrived.
 We bought two nativities in Kampala.  In the background is simply Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus in a manger.  In the forefront, a set of soapstone figures...sheep, cow, wise men.  We combined the two together for our one nativity.
 A picture of some of the dolls, bears, frogs and balls Pam and the branch sisters made.
 These dolls were "invented" by Pam, from empty water bottles, filled with a few pebbles for weight and then dressed..  Many of the dolls have a baby on their backs just as the Ugandans carry their babies.
 Bears and frogs. The frogs are partially filled with beans. Our Single Adult, Simon, made the bulletin boards  below and Clifton painted the scenes for the beanbag toss game.  They were left for children in the cancer and the burn units.  The young men from Gulu branch also sanded and painted several large bags of building blocks for those same hospital units.
Beanbag toss hole in each board.
Our young singles with Pam and her brother Dennis at the hospital.  Ten of them had Santa or Elf hats that they also distributed to some of the older children.  

 Beatrice with one of the patients made a good number of bears, frogs and dolls.  And she's quite a doll herself.

 Stephen with a cancer patient baby and her Mom.
 Laurice...our seminary student at Pope John Paul School we have mentioned in past blog posts, 
distributing frogs.

Another young adult with a cancer patient.  You can see his face swollen.  Burkitt's Lymphoma Cancer.  Google it.
An employee at the grateful for our visit and cheering up her patients.  She received a Bible and a Scripture Stories reader too.

This good man  has been in the hospital for about as long as I can remember.  He asked for a Bible. As soon as I gave it to him he raised it as high as he could repeating the words, "Praise the Lord."  He then held it against his heart.  It was the greatest gift he had ever received.  We had a dozen or so Bibles.  Everyone in this ward wanted one...reaching out in great anticipation of having their own Bible.
Peter...member of Gulu Branch.  Bumped into him on the street selling Christmas trees.  These are really just branches cut off from a pine tree of some sort.  He had sold none at this point.

 Missionaries above and below over for Christmas eve dinner.

 Christmas Day service project...replacing the latrine for our compound guards.  This is the existing one.  Rotted and collapsing.  Too small to do anything but stoop in.
 See what I can't stand up in it.
 Inside view of existing, collapsing latrine.
 Walls, vines removed.  Latrine razed.
 Framing erected (bamboo poles) by the missionaries and Pam's brother Dennis.

Finished product.  Maybe 6' tall.  Much more room inside the latrine.  More dignity and privacy.  The walls we used are typically sold as floor mats that the locals sit and sleep on in their huts.  2000 shillings each or 80cents.  The bamboo framing runs 1500 per 10' pole...about 60 cents.  Dennis estimated it would take 2 hours to complete the job.  We started at 10:00 am after breakfast with the missionaries and finished at 12:00.  Way to go Dennis!

One pic from our safari last week...a beautiful sunset.

A Christmas poem written by one of the wives of our Senior Couples.
(Our mission president, is a former cowboy and rodeo champ)

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the mission,
All Elders and Sisters and Couples were wishin’…
That they could be home with their families so dear,
And share with them in the holiday cheer.
But needless to say, that just wasn’t the plan,
For who would teach about salvation for man.
So they put on their name tags and hit the street,
Why they had a whole nation of Ugandans to meet.
Forget about gifts, and reindeer and snow,
And teach these great people all that they must know.
Forget about stockings hung by the chimney with care,
And think about the message that we have to share.
Forget about ham, or turkey, or treats,
Enjoy pineapple and mangos as your holiday sweets.
Throw in a few fried grasshoppers or tasty white ants,
But don’t complain if you have diarrhea in your pants.
You committed to serve and that’s what you’ll do,
Until President Chatfield exclaims, “Hey, cowboy, you’re through!”